7.3/10
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The Shogun's Samurai (1978)

Yagyû ichizoku no inbô (original title)
Following the death of the second Tokugawa shogun, it is revealed that he was poisoned by retainers of his son Iemitsu in hopes of gaining him the shogunate despite the stammer and ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kinnosuke Nakamura ...
Yagyu Tajima-no-Kami Munenori (as Kinnosuke Yorozuya Nakamura)
...
Yagyû Jûbê (as Sonny Chiba)
Hiroki Matsukata ...
Teruhiko Saigô ...
Tokugawa Tadanaga (Younger Prince)
Reiko Ôhara ...
...
Sanza Nagoya (Flute Player)
Etsuko Shiomi ...
Yagyu Akane (Yagyu Sister) (as Etsuko Shihomi)
Kentarô Kudô ...
Yagyu Matajuro (Yagyu Brother)
Jirô Yabuki ...
Yagyu Samon (Yagyu Brother) (as Jiro Yabuki)
Hideo Murota ...
Sagenta Nogero (Leader of Negoro Clan)
Mayumi Asano ...
Mon (Fighter of Negoro Clan)
...
Hayate (Fighter of Negoro Clan)
Ichirô Nakatani ...
Gyobu Amano (Masterless Samurai)
...
Ogasawara Gensinsai (Tajima's Rival)
Etsushi Takahashi ...
Matsudaira Izu (Iemitsu's Chamberlain)
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Storyline

Following the death of the second Tokugawa shogun, it is revealed that he was poisoned by retainers of his son Iemitsu in hopes of gaining him the shogunate despite the stammer and birthmark which undermine his respect. Iemitsu and his brother Tadanaga become bitter rivals for the shogunate, and the land is split into factions, eventually erupting into warfare. Iemitsu's mentor, his fencing instructor Yagyu, is fixated upon securing Iemitsu the shogunate and ends up betraying everyone, even his own family, in pursuit of the goal. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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7 December 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Shogun's Samurai  »

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2.35 : 1
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Connections

Followed by Samurai Reincarnation (1981) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Jubei ain't no David!
17 July 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I wanted to like this one a lot more than I did. Unfortunately there just wasn't enough memorable stuff in it. Not because it is not a good production, but because so many things happen involving lots and lots of characters, it becomes a struggle to follow the plot. I mean, you can follow it, but the wide scope causes the characters to bleed together. Only a few of them really stand out, the notable one being Yagyu Jubei -- Sonny Chiba's one-eyed ninja "character". Although he isn't the focus of the movie, he is the protagonist to be identified with and he ties all the social groups together.

Still, I didn't really like Yagyu Jubei. Sure, he's badass and all that, but what an unrealistic character! I just didn't care about him at all. He was like an anime character; he's some overly idealized manifestation of handsome bravado which borders on homo-erotic infatuation. Hahaha! But then again, isn't that why we like Michaelangelo's David so much? Hrmm....

Don't get me wrong, the movie is worth watching. It has some good (albeit fictional) plot twists and a few memorable characters who are rather unique (such as the dainty, foppish castle magistrate or the kids from the ninja village). There are some crucial fight scenes with ninjas, and we even get to see that legendary Japan Action Club fighting babe, Etsuko Shihomi before she dropped off the map! I've never seen the series this was related to (also featuring Sonny Chiba playing Jubei) but an extended TV format would work much better at developing the characters and plot twists. This movie is already pretty long, but it still feels scrunched together. It's like trying to make a crazy Sopranos-type show into a full-length movie. Not gonna work out too smoothly!

6.5


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